We are getting ready to start our tenth year of homeschool. It is a life choice for us not something we are forced to do. I enjoyed being home and teaching my children. I don’t fell the need to defend the how or why we homeschool but there are a few things that I wish other moms knew about homeschooling.
There are a ton of things that I think people have misconceptions about when it comes to homeschooling. I once had a young woman, who had been attending our church for a few months, come up to me and confess that her idea of homeschool families were that they were weird, oddly dressed, and antisocial. She then went on to say that she was pleasantly surprised that our family was none of those things.
I believe that as the homeschool movement grows, that many of these cliches about homeschooling families are going out the window. And, since some families have been forced into homeschooling due to COVID, they are finding out some of the perks that come along with it. Along with some of the challenges.
This list that I’m presenting to you is not exhaustive. I have condensed it to five things that if I got a chance to sit in a comfy place with a cup of coffee in hand that I’d love to express to the mom who is considering homeschool, the mom who believes she can’t homeschool, or to the mom who is anti-homeschool.
5 Things I Wish Moms Knew about Homeschooling
1. Everyone Can Homeschool
I hate it when people say, “I could never do that”. Whether they mean it as a compliment or a “bless your heart” kind of jab, it is not true. Everyone has the right and ability.
I will never forget a meeting I went to of veteran homeschool moms some 11 years ago to try and soak up some of their wisdom. I told them that I was terrified of messing my child up. What if I couldn’t teach him to read or write? What if it was a disaster?
A sweet older lady looked me in the eyes and said,”When you brought that baby home from the hospital, were you a mom yet? Were you an expert? No, but you learned as you went along and you were determined to make it work. You are their mom and no one else knows them as well as you. It’s the same with homeschooling. You learn along side them and make it work.” She was so right!!
On the practical side, there are thousands of resources available today that help make learning from home just that much easier. I will put a list at the end of this post to help anyone who might be knew or considering homeschooling.
2. Your Grow and Learn Alongside Your Kids
Honestly, this is one of my favorite parts. God teaches me lessons through them and grows me through the process every day. Things like patience, gentleness, intentionality, focus, and the list could go on and on. I wish all moms knew how much you learn while homeschooling your kids.
And, I also learn history, geography and things I forgot in grammar. It can get mentally exhausting switching from fourth grade division to eighth grade sentence diagramming and so on. In the end, I always feel like I’ve accomplished something big by helping my child improve and also gained knowledge myself.
The biggest pro to add in this section is there is nothing like seeing the lightbulb turn on in your child’s brain. The joy that comes from seeing them excited to read on their own or to tell Daddy what they learned in science is indescribable. And, I get the satisfaction of knowing that I played a part in their success.
3. Your Kids Are Not “Missing Out” On Anything
People often say to me, “But aren’t your kids missing out on the school experience?” I’m not totally sure what this is suppose to mean so the short answer is NO.
My husband and I were both schooled in public schools. We feel like we gained good educations and we made some good friends. However, there are parts of the experience that I could do with out.
First, there are lots of ways to connect with other homeschool families. Many areas have homeschool groups or co-ops that you can join in order to share teaching and activities. Most gyms, art schools, music lessons, rec centers etc. will have spots during the day for homeschool classes. Sometimes at discounted prices since it isn’t their prime operating hours.
This along with church, family, and neighborhood friends gives my children the opportunities they need for social interaction and friendships. Plus, having coaches and teachers outside of the home in these capacities gives them the experience of submission to other authorities outside the home.
Second, as a Christian mom, one of my motivations for homeschooling is teaching my children a Biblical worldview. My kids are not missing out in school because they would not be taught science, history, literature, etc. from the perspective that my husband and I would prefer.
Last, they don’t really teach life skills at school. I don’t know how many people have told me that they wish that they could have learned how to do taxes, manage a home, or time management in school.
By having my children at home with me, they get to understand what it takes to manage a household on the day to day and do it hands on. We talk about meal planning, budgeting, and saving. I teach them chores, how to cook, how to grocery shop, and how to help their younger siblings.
4. There are Pros to Homeschooling You Don’t Know
Can I start with we don’t have to live by the clock? We do try to get our homeschool day started by 9 am because we do Bible with Daddy before he heads to work. But, if some one is behind or if we have other things going on, there is no morning rush. We also don’t have to have lunch or breaks at a certain time.
Also, our days are MUCH shorter than a typical school day. We do not need to factor in longer times for lunch, class changes, recess, etc. Also, because my kids are working one on one with me,(Another pro to mention soon.) the amount of time for each subject is also significantly less.
Again, I get to give my kids one on one attention. This means, I can custom their work, activities, and my instruction to their learning styles. Not only that, but, we can spend extra time or attention on things they truly enjoy studying or with concepts where they are struggling.
Finally, we get to have lots of family time and rest. My husband is off on Mondays so our family does a half day on Monday and four full day homeschool week. This means we get to spend time with him when he is home. Also, since our family lives far away, we can take breaks when we need for trips or just pack up our school and take it with us.
I feel like a lot of times that people think homeschool takes away your time but I wish moms knew how much extra time you actually have with homeschooling. Extra time for family and for getting things done. And, less rush.
5. We Are NOT Recreating School at Home
I was a sub for a junior high during my last year of university and I worked as a high school science teacher for 4 years. I could set up our day like a typical school day if I so chose. But why?
The beauty of school at home is that we can do things they way that we want them done. My oldest likes to work alone in his room while listening to music. My youngest will not read unless we are snuggled together in a blanket on the couch.
The goal is not to recreate the same atmosphere, rules, or learning style that is in a traditional class room. But rather, to teach and foster curiosity and growth in a comfortable and controlled enviroment.
If we’ve had a tough week, a nature walk can become a science lesson. A trip to the library can encourage them to read and explore their interests. A couple of hours electronic free gives them time to be creative or build something or just to catch up in a subject.
Mental health days might look like us staying in our pajamas and watching some educational shows or baking treats to share with our neighbors. If I need a break, they have plenty of work that they can do with out me and sometimes having to figure things out on your own helps you retain the concepts better.
Whatever works for your family while still maintaining progress and achieving goals is the perfect setting. As long as your children feel safe, supported, and you are seeing advancement, you are doing just fine. I wish other moms knew that with homeschooling, you have the ability to set the goals and let your kid learn that their own pace.
Whatever You Choose
With all of this being said, I realize that homeschool is not preferable or even an option for every family. There are some who prefer their children in school for reasons that work for their families. Also, some moms work or have other responsibilities that would not allow them to homeschool.
Whatever you choose, I hope that this gives you a little glimpse into the homeschool family and what it is and is not. I also hope it removes a bit of the stigmas surrounding what others may see or believe about homeschooling.
Lastly, whatever you choose, I know that all of us Mommas are making the choices that we believe are best for our families and children based on what God has called us to do.
And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.Romans 8:28
Resources for Homeschooling
Curriculum and Online Learning
There are so many resources out there so I am going to restrict this list to those that I have personal experience using.
Homeschool Laws or Requirements
Different areas have certain state/provincial laws or requirements for those who choose to school their kids at home. I can’t list every single one but this list should provide you the direction you need to find the laws where you reside.
Umbrella Schools help you by keeping records of the curriculum you’ve used, number of days you’ve homeschooled, and grades for each student. They are helpful especially for high school to be sure your student completes the local requirements and provides you with official transcripts for university.